Want your dog to be healthy and happy? Of course, you do! But are you paying attention to your dog’s oral health? Dog plaque and tartar build up is one of the most neglected aspect of dog care.
Which is why it is also the most common health issue that dogs suffer from.
If your dog already has plaque and tartar on his teeth, you may find the information in this article very useful.
We will discuss the different factors that cause dog plaque. We will also look at various options for dog plaque removal.
Dog plaque can be a major problem if not treated on time. Accumulation of plaque on dog’s teeth can cause:
- Gum inflammations
- Dangerous oral infections and
- Teeth loss
Your dog’s teeth and gums, just like yours, need regular cleaning to stay in good condition. People brush and floss several times a day to keep their teeth clean and bad breath away. To some extent, the same rule applies to dogs too.
“Dog plaque is a film of bacteria that accumulates under the gums and hardens into tartar if not cleaned every day. It pulls the teeth away from gums creating a dangerous bacteria magnet.”
Causes of Dog Plaque and Tartar Buildup
Adequate and routine care is vital for preventing dog plaque and tartar buildup and keeping your pet’s teeth in good condition. Especially if their diets are based on the starchy foods or they’re gobbling on our food leftovers.
4 out of 5 dogs suffer from gum diseases caused by dog tartar build up by the age of three.
Not so long ago, our dogs chewed on a more natural, raw meat diet with far less sugars and additives. With such diets, the risk of developing plaque and tartar in dogs was much less than with some of the present-day dog foods. While times and food standards change rapidly, the anatomy of dog’s teeth remains the same.
Failing to clean the dog’s teeth after eating a meal, is one of the main reasons for dog plaque buildup.
At first tartar buildup is noticeable just as a rough surface. It helps bacteria to multiply in your dog’s mouth. This scenario causes more serious problems.
The thin film of plaque on the dog’s teeth combines with salts found in dog saliva. It then starts to mineralize forming a much harder layer of dog tartar. In just a few weeks, you’ll notice bad tartar buildup on dog’s teeth which is very hard to clean.
Effects of Dog Tartar
Dog tartar causes irritation and inflammation of gums, which is a sign of gingivitis. Dog tartar also pushes the gums back, exposing the roots of the teeth and leaving them unprotected. This becomes a sensitive point, prone to serious bacterial infections which cause pain, abscesses, loose teeth or even bone loss in some scenarios.
Certain dog breeds are genetically predisposed to tartar development. But that doesn’t mean dog tartar can’t be prevented or successfully treated. The food your dog eats plays a decisive role in this.
If you notice dark brown stains on your dog’s teeth that are hard to remove, he probably has a plaque and tartar problem. You should get your dog’s teeth examined by a vet and take appropriate measures to keep matters getting out of hand.
Remember that the damage caused by tartar can often be irreversible, permanently damaging your dog’s teeth.
Controlling Dog Plaque
Plaque and tartar buildup on teeth can be the reason for other serious health problems in canines. So, it’s important to control dog tartar in the early stages.
Raw diet and homemade food is an excellent way to control tartar. Meat in ground raw diets contains natural enzymes. Besides that, raw diet food usually doesn’t stick to the dogs’ teeth, thus preventing the formation of plaque and tartar.
Dogs who love to chew have far less tartar buildup.
Giving the dogs rawhide bones can serve as the best dog plaque control method. Since rawhide bones are abrasive in nature, they act as a natural toothbrush, scraping off the plaque from the dog’s teeth.
If tartar build up on dog’s teeth is not controlled, the bacteria may move down into the bloodstream and affect major organs like heart and liver of your dog. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!
Signs Your Dog May Have Developed Plaque On Teeth
As mentioned above, there are several products available to help you prevent and control dog plaque. However, if your dog’s teeth are already severely affected, a serious approach to dog plaque removal is necessary.
It is important to get dog dental check-ups done at least once in 6 to 12 months.
- Does your dog have unusually bad breath?
- Does your dog drool excessively?
- Are your dog’s gums swollen or bleeding?
- Is there a visible pile of dog tartar along the gum line?
- Is there a noticeable change in appetite or the way of chewing?
- Does your dog paw his face repeatedly?
- Is your dog suddenly showing destructive behavior by chewing on inappropriate things?
If your dog exhibits one or more of the above symptoms, you probably need to take him to the vet for a dental checkup.
So Your Dog Has Tartar Buildup; Here’s What You Need To Do
Get the dental X-rays done first as they are required to decide a treatment. This may require the dog to be sedated. If the accumulated layer of tartar is thick and hard, the dog tartar removal process can be very painful. If the dental X-rays indicate the need teeth removal, it is done only under anaesthesia.
If the tartar buildup is not severe, you can try to clean the dog’s teeth at home using baking soda. Baking soda has abrasive properties due to which it can scrub tartar off dog’s teeth. It also prevents other dental problems like tooth decay. Apply baking soda as needed on a dog toothbrush and brush as you would normally do. After brushing, give your dog some water to rinse off the baking soda in his mouth.
How Much Does Dog Plaque Removal Cost?
Severe tartar buildup can inflict pain to your dog. Besides, frequent visits to the vet for dog plaque removal treatments means expensive medical bills. This is especially true if you don’t have the best insurance to cover your dog’s dental treatment.
The typical cost of dog plaque removal may vary anywhere from $100 to $800. It depends on:
- Whether pre-dental blood work is required or not,
- The severity of tartar accumulation on dog’s teeth and
- If there’s any other serious damage to dog’s teeth.
The pre-dental blood work and physical exam could cost around $100. Regular brushing of teeth may additionally cost around $40 to $70 per year, which depends on the size of the dog.
If the dog is suffering from extreme periodontal conditions, deep scaling or a surgery may be required. In such cases, a surgery or teeth extractions may cost you about $1000 or more.
Controlling dog tartar using certain dental diets for dogs or dental treats can cost around $250 per year depending on how frequently you use them.
Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning are essential to maintain good oral hygiene in your dog. It also prevents any irreparable damage to your dog’s teeth and ensures good overall health throughout his life.
Removing Dog Plaque at Home
Removing dog plaque at home requires regular examination of the dog’s mouth. Look for any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Using a tooth scraper is the most efficient way to remove dog plaque at home. But only if you are certain that you have enough patience, a steady hand and a lot of trust in your dog. The scraping procedure can be very upsetting and potentially painful for the animal (and dangerous for you!).
Modify the diet of the dog to include more of raw meat, raw bones and dry kibble. Dry kibble helps in scraping plaque and tartar off the teeth. Some dog bones and dog chews are designed to help remove tartar on the dog’s teeth.
You can also use coconut oil as a home remedy for brushing dog’s teeth. It has anti-bacterial properties and cleans the teeth naturally to remove dog plaque and tartar.
The application of a few drops of grapefruit seed extract dissolved in water on the gum line with a cotton ball can also help in keeping your dog’s teeth clean.
The following sections discuss the best dog plaque removal products. Using them daily will help you keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Most Effective Dog Plaque Removal Products
Maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene at home has become easier thanks to a wide range of dog plaque and tartar removal products. You can use these daily in your dog dental care routine. Thus, reducing the frequency of veterinary visits (and medical expenses).
Let’s look at the top dog teeth cleaning products to consider in-between visits to the veterinary’s office.
A good dog toothpaste helps fight dog plaque buildup and gradually breaks down dog tartar. Dog toothpastes are effective in eliminating sources of bacterial buildup and preventing gum disease and bad breath problems.
Warning: Never use a human toothpaste for brushing your dog’s teeth. It contains fluoride which is poisonous to dogs.
Dog toothpastes for tartar often come in canine favorite meat flavors, making dogs instantly like them. After introducing a wee bit of toothpaste to your pooch, brushing should be easy.
With the right dog toothpaste, brushing your pet’s teeth can be a walk in the park, even if you have a restless one.
Dog toothbrush and toothpaste are the primary necessities for your pet’s dental care. Choosing the right dog toothbrush effectively scrapes plaque and tartar accumulated on the dog’s teeth.
Dog toothbrush comes in various shapes, sizes and bristle textures. Choose the one that suits your dog’s size. You don’t want to get a dog toothbrush with large head for small dogs. Double end dog toothbrushes have different sized heads on each end for convenience.
Brushing action is the key factor in cleaning dog’s teeth. Dog toothbrush handles have a specific angle adapted to the dog mouth, enabling easy brushing. There are finger toothbrushes for dogs too, for better precision and reach. A soft finger toothbrush for children can serve as an emergency dog toothbrush alternative.
Dog toothbrush kits available on the market often contain a set of dog toothbrush and toothpaste. This gives you everything you need to control dog tartar buildup.
Dental gel for dogs helps soften plaque and tartar accumulated on the dog’s teeth making it easier to remove.
The advantage of the dog dental gel is its easy application making it an excellent way of cleaning your pet’s teeth. Just apply a couple of drops on each side of dog’s mouth. Do not give any food or water for half an hour for it to be effective. That’s why it’s most practical to apply tartar removal gel before your dog’s bedtime. Results are usually noticeable after a couple of weeks of regular application.
Almost all dog plaque removal gels available today, contain a wide range of natural ingredients. These help fight oral infections and numerous pathogens often found in dog’s mouth.
Some dental gels also contain Chlorhexidine, a very efficient ingredient that does wonders for dog tartar removal. This substance binds itself to the tissue around gums and teeth and gradually moves into the oral cavity. The gel is eventually spread around the mouth by the dogs’ tongue and lips. Although Chlorhexidine has a bitter taste, it’s safe to use for pets in limited quantities.
Dog dental sprays are designed to eliminate plaque, break up tartar and reverse gum diseases. They also freshen dog’s breath.
The ingredients in dog tartar removal spray kill the bad bacteria in the dog’s mouth and help dissolve the tartar. They work under the gums to improve the overall oral health. With constant use, tartar becomes softer and easy to scrape off using a tartar scaling instrument, a dog toothbrush or dog dental wipes.
Dog plaque control sprays are affordable, effective and have very simple application. With the first spray, tartar starts to go away. Besides, we use mouth wash, so why shouldn’t our dogs?
The best thing you can do to clean your dog’s teeth, is to give them some tasty dental chews and treats. Chewing reduces the plaque build-up in the dog’s mouth by almost 70% and significantly improves dog breath. The positive effect comes from the combination of chewing action and the anti-tartar ingredients in the dental chews and treats.
Dog chews are excellent for maintaining your pet’s oral hygiene. Many quality dog treats contain polyphosphate coating that reduces tartar by almost 50%.
Always remember to consult a veterinary to decide a suitable diet for your dog as the needs vary from dog to dog.
If used daily, the dog treats produce the results like brushing dog’s teeth twice a week. Useful for dog owners with restless dogs who refuse to get their teeth brushed. Try not to overdo it since too much chews and treats can cause weight problems in dogs.
You can also find a bunch of recipes on how to make homemade dog treats for tartar control.
Playing games and having fun are an important aspect of your pet’s life. And chew toys are a great accessory to help you with that. Chew toys help to significantly improve dog’s dental health. And the best part is that, dogs will love you for it!
Chew toys help prevent dog plaque formation and even scrape plaque off dog’s teeth. They are a necessity for dogs rather than a luxury.
The best dental chew toys for dogs are:
- Flexible enough so that they don’t break into pieces
- Have mildly rough textured surface to help scrape tartar on teeth
- Softer to prevent any damage to the dog’s teeth and
- Big enough so that they don’t get accidentally swallowed.
Most common dog chew toys are bone-like, but they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It’s a good idea to consult your vet before choosing a dental chew toy for your dog.
Dental food for dogs are specially designed to help reduce plaque and tartar build up on dog’s teeth. Dog food that fights tartar is one which is dry, crunchy and has a rough texture. This helps to pull off the plaque or tartar from your dog’s teeth. Its attributes make them like raw bones which are the best tartar control dog food.
Balancing your dog’s diet as well as maintaining good oral hygiene of your pet is very important.
Foods that are abrasive in nature help to scrape off the tartar from dog’s teeth during the chewing process. There are various types of dental dog food available in the market that help in maintaining good oral health.
Since some dog’s love bones a lot, they tend to chew it vigorously and may even get their teeth fractured. Therefore, it’s advised that pet owners supervise their dogs while they chew on bones to prevent any damage to the teeth.
Dog tartar control powder is best if you are a busy dog owner. This powder can be used as a daily food additive for your dog.
All you should do is add the recommended amount to your dog’s food daily. When digested, the natural compounds in the powder react with the dog’s saliva and breaks down the layer of dog plaque and tartar on the teeth.
It is one of the most efficient tartar control methods available. It leaves only useful bacteria and maintains the optimal pH value in the dog’s mouth, thus preventing bad breath.
Results can take up to two weeks to appear.
Just like supplementing dog’s food with additives, supplementing your dog’s drinking water too can greatly contribute towards improved dental health. Water additive for dogs reduces the chances of bacteria formation and gingivitis and controls plaque.
Using water additives is safe and convenient for daily use. Make sure that they do not contain any harmful ingredients like chlorine or alcohol that may have side effects on your dog.
Dental wipes are soft and textured to clean your pet’s teeth and gum line gently.
Dog teeth cleaning wipes are simple to use. They are the best way to accustom dogs to teeth brushing routines. Also, cleaning dog’s teeth with wipes makes an efficient substitute for brushing with a dog toothbrush.
Dogs will take time to get used to oral care routine. That the reason why you should progress slowly and praise the dog after every positive wiping session.
Some natural dog dental wipes contain ingredients like baking soda, aloe and pomegranate extracts. These ingredients provide multiple other health benefits apart from cleaning teeth and controlling tartar build up.
How Does Dog Dental Insurance Help?
We have health insurance, and so should our four legged friends. Oral problems like dog plaque are one of the most common occurring health issues in dogs. An insurance that covers dog dental care can help you manage the expensive medical bills.
The cost of dog tartar removal can be very high. So, it’s far better, both for your dog’s comfort and your wallet to avoid the problem in the first place.
These insurance plans cover a major portion of your dog’s medical expenses. And therefore it can save a significant amount of money for you. If you already have dog insurance, check its policies once again. It is likely that your current plan may not cover dental care expenses. You must choose a dog insurance that covers dental treatments as well.
It’s your responsibility as an owner to take care of your canine pal’s well-being. Regular dental check-ups are necessary. While more expensive dental procedures are necessary if the problem gets out of hand.